How to keep on surprising: A KL store called Snackfood gives a masterclass on the art of delight

·3-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, June 12 ― Among the many delightful things you will find at Snackfood ― a lifestyle select store ― is something you actually cannot see. Or even buy.

It is a feeling, a sense of delight and even ― especially for regular customers/visitors ― a refuge. “Yes, people did come to find some peace,” said Snackfood co-founder Adeline Chong.

I, for one, used to just drop by their old shop in Bangsar just to sit and gather my thoughts. To have a quiet moment in between appointments.

Also, Snackfood wasn’t just a place for delightful finds. It hosted tastings ― coffee, chocolate, and even pu-erh tea ― as well as dinners and gave young artisanal businesses a place to showcase their work.

But there was a time the shop’s founders ― Adeline and her husband Khoo Wei Yeng ― needed a bit of uplifting themselves. In 2020, they made the difficult decision to close their Bangsar store after eight years.

“We realised our energy was depleting... we were definitely tired,” said Wei Yeng. Part of the reason was all the anxiety attached to keeping a business afloat, of course, but Adeline said it had started even before that.

“To be a happy shop is very, very hard,” she explained.

Wei Yeng jokes that business saw a big uptick once they made the announcement on social media that Snackfood would be closing. “People came to shop, to say goodbye, to take pictures,” he added.

Although they exited Bangsar, they never intended to stop the business but things took a curious turn in the months ahead.

After scouting around for a new location, they reopened in Centrio Pantai Hillpark which I found out was actually where this whole Snackfood adventure began. Back in 2009, the two sold vintage items from their then apartment home before setting up shop in Bangsar.

Fast forward 13 years later and they are back in the neighbourhood. This time round, they have gained a whole lot of experience and are parents to eight-year-old Jade who literally grew up in Snackfood.

The new space opened at the end of 2021 and is at once familiar (the Snackfood DNA which is really not just about what is sold at the shop!) and new (this new space has an outdoor aspect).

“It was really good foresight on Adeline’s part that we did not bring the furniture from the old shop with us,” Wei Yeng said. New space, new energy.

Snackfood 3.0 also sees them transitioning from being curators to creators. When you look around Snackfood now, you will see Snackfood creations that range from T-shirts featuring Jade’s drawings (that rainbow cat is a keeper), greeting cards, knitted woodland surprises like mushrooms (they designed these to be made by a woman who is a whiz at crafting) and pins of their own design made by French brand Macon & Lesquoy (Snackfood used to sell their quirky pins in the old shop).

These items now tell the story of Snackfood’s lived experiences. Rainbows, cats, ghosts, mantras (“Can you surprise?”), woodland spirits embodied in knitted creatures.

Adeline said some customers expected to see the old shop transported to this new space. “They asked us ‘Is that all?’“

The new space has more than enough to delight and surprise. You can sit outside now under the trees and have some lemonade (Jade’s very own enterprise born during the pandemic) and dream.

Since their opening just a few short months ago, they have had art sessions for kids, a pop-up with fashion brand Tangsi Tujuh and introduced their Instagram followers to their neighbour who makes pottery.

That feeling I mentioned earlier... It is lighter, more free and definitely more creative in this new Snackfood.

You will be delighted.

Snackfood. A-3-5 Centrio at Pantai Hillpark Kuala Lumpur. Open from Thurs to Mon 10.30am-5pm

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